Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Wine ~ New Wineskins

No one sews a patch of new cloth on an old garment; else the new patch tears away from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one pours new wine into old wine-skins; else the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is spilt, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. (Mark 2:21,22)
What do these two verses mean? The time of old religion is over- Jesus the Messiah is with us. Everything is new now in Christ and his fresh teaching. The old thinking cannot just be patched up, there is something new in Christ which will require an equally new way of behaving, thinking, sensing and responding.

Sad to say, this is lost on many for whom the things of Christ make for religion which is business as usual: maintaining parish properties which (factory-like) we call plants, the routine execution of sloppy liturgies, the loss of vision in preaching, religion motivated by clericalism, habit, guilt, superstition, money, power, superficiality or an excuse for hate. Saint Ambrose of Milan wrote: 
There is your brother, your sister, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.
So what are we to do?
"...have no fear of human sin. Love people, even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation. The whole and every grain of sand on it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceivnne the divine majesty in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better everyday. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love." (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)
And how are we to go about attaining this new, inner-life direction? Years ago when I was in seminary a priest friend said to me, "Do everything you can to get Christ into your life; there is everything to take him away." 


  1. Love people, even in their sin. This is what Jesus did. His message is simple, not to be lost in flowery language and long verses.

  2. And loving people in their sin is what makes Christianity difficult - not fasting rules, lengthy liturgies, hard to wear costume and penances. Life is already difficult enough.

  3. Love and acceptance. It is easy to say I love this person without accepting them for who they are. How many times have we heard at mass to love your neighbor as yourself, yet we can't give everyone the same rights? I say love your neighbor and accept them regardless of their social status, their homelessness, their emotional instability, their depression, their sexuality, their brokenness, their sickness, their physical disabilities, their addictions.. Do not be judgmental of people. The lepers of the Bible are our neighbors today. God loves us all equally. Thank you Father for your presence.

  4. This is an exciting post. It creates enthusiasm for a new beginning with Christ in my life. Where do I begin??

    1. With Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Jerusalem Bible has helpful footnotes. Carry on!